One of my first and best friends from Kingwood, Texas, is moving. I am honored to be included in her celebration at my old office where I began the tradition of pot luck parties. To secure my invitation since I’m no longer affiliated with that office, I promised homemade ice cream. While all of my ice cream flavors seem to be appreciated, I wanted to make something special for my friend. I was inspired by the mint plant on my patio and decided on mint chocolate chip. Many recipes I referenced cautioned that it takes peppermint extract to get a strong mint flavor. The recipe author I trusted most admitted he doesn’t get enough mint from his plant so buys it at the market to make ice cream, so I left the mint on the patio for iced tea and bought a 1 ounce bunch of big mint leaves. I was determined to make mint chocolate chip ice cream with real mint and my usual easy method, so I made up my own recipe and gave it a whirl. The ice cream was delicious and definitely minty. In fact, the fresh scent of mint lingered in the house the next day. Here is my fresh and simple ice cream creation:
In a pot, combine:
1 cup whole milk;
2 cups heavy cream;
3/4 cup sugar;
1 oz mint leaves, rinsed and patted dry.
Turn heat to medium, and gently stir cream mixture to dissolve sugar. Heat and stir until cream mixture is hot and steaming. Turn off heat; cover pot; let mint leaves steep in hot cream for an hour.
Strain cream mixture into a 4-cup heat-proof measuring cup. Mash mint leaves with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. Discard mint. Stir in 1/2 tsp Tahitian vanilla. Cover cream mixture with plastic wrap and set in freezer to chill until very cold.
Turn on electric ice cream maker, and pour in cold ice cream mixture.
Let mix until beginning to thicken, about 15-18 minutes.
Add in 4 oz dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces. (While big chunks of chocolate look appetizing, smaller pieces of frozen chocolate make a nicer bite in a spoonful of ice cream.)
Let mix another 5 minutes.
Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer to firm up.
I made this ice cream to serve at an open house as a trial run, and my friend said it was delicious. I will be making the exact same recipe again for her celebration and sending the extra with her, and I will remember my best friend every time I make fresh mint chocolate chip ice cream.